Tuesday, February 9, 2016


It is time to make valentines!  I started yesterday on the ones for my students.  It seems like there is plenty of candy around the holiday, so I give them something not edible-a mini handmade book.  I used a piece of copy paper and a four and a half by six inch piece of cardstock.  The band around the middle is a strip of cardstock folded around the book and then glued together.  It slides on and off, and I can write the to and from part on the back of it.   Once I get done with these, I can move on to valentines for my family and maybe even my coworkers.

Monday, January 25, 2016

more than I expected

Sometimes when I start a project, it is hard to know how much time it is going to take.  Making these hexagons is an enjoyable process even though it takes time.  While in Guatemala I got a good start...but then I ran out of fabric scraps.  One day in the summer or early fall,  my sister gave me some more scraps...and yesterday I was looking through my fabric, but it looks like I am going to need lots more. It is a good project for these long winter evenings.  Maybe I can get the blocks done by the time we are done with a Minnesota winter. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

free days at National Parks

Bryce Canyon National Park
Each year, the National Park Service offers several days where the entrance fee to the park is free for everyone.  In 2016, they have chosen 16 different days where visitors can enter without a fee.  One (January 18) has already passed, but that still leaves 15 days for this year.  If you visit this web page, you can read more about it.  Maybe I will have to head west this August and revisit some of the parks I went to 2014.

Another thing I noted while reading the information is that any fourth grade student in the US can get a free park pass for that school year.  For information on that, see the website here.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is classified as a novel for children, but I think many adults would enjoy it as well.  Ivy June lives in Thunder Creek, Kentucky, where phone lines don't go to every home and some people do not have indoor bathrooms.  Catherine lives in Lexington with the same amount of bathrooms as people in her home, plus her own cell phone.  Both girls sign up for a two week exchange program.  So Ivy June is off to the city to live with Catherine for two weeks, attending school with her friend.  Later, Catherine goes to spend two weeks with Ivy June in the mountains of Kentucky.  Life seems different in each place, but by the end of the story the two girls realize how much their are alike despite the outward differences.  This would be a good book to read aloud to sixth or seventh grade students.  It could lead to some good discussions.   

Friday, January 8, 2016

Love From the Very Hungry Caterpillar

Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a new book which could make the perfect gift for Valentine's Day.  It is small (less than 6 inches by 7 inches) and brief.  Each pair of pages has an illustration in classic Carle style along with a handful of words.  It is an illustrated love letter written with metaphors.  This is not going to replace my favorite Valentine's book (which is The Day it Rained Hearts), but I will definitely get this from the library each February to read to my students. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015


2015 is done.  I met some of my goals for this year.
  • I read 14 nonfiction books (my goal was twelve).  Three I recommend are One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Love Does by Bob Goff, and More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger.  
  • In May I finished the Spanish portion of Duolingo.  
  • In September I learned how to can salsa with the help of my sister.  
My hexagon quilt is not finished...it does not have much more completed than I had in January.  I could have completed, but like a few of my other quilt projects, it seemed like it was okay to set it aside for a bit.

There are also lots of things that I did that were not on my list of goals.
  • I finished two quilts (click here and here to see them).  I also began another one
  • I read 60 books.  A few of my favorites besides the nonfiction ones I mentioned above include The Rent Collector by Camron Wright, The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate,  As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti, and Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner.
  • My dad and I went on a week long vacation to northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, spending just one day in Michigan.
  • The eighth annual Camp Clair was at my apartment with seven children in attendance.  It was short due to schedules, number of children, and limited space, but we had a good time.
  • In August I returned to the teaching job that I have had since 2002.  It has been good to be back at work, though some days it seems so much busier than other years.  Maybe it is, or I just became accustomed to a less hectic pace while I was studying Spanish.
What did you do in 2015?